When I was in school, all of about ten years of age, I wrote a book.
Well it wasn’t really a full scale book, it was more just a stream of a sub James Bond spy saga using names and phrases that a ten year old probably wasn’t meant to know about (I think the KGB got a mention at some point, they had jetpacs). I actually ended up printing the thing and selling copies for 50p a throw. Who could possibly deny a ten year old 50p for all this effort? As such I sold out of the one and only print run.
The main thing at the time was how much I enjoyed telling this crazy, devoid of any kind of factual information, story. I’d write for hours on end after school, actually knuckling down to write straight after doing homework. The process was enjoyable and exhilarating. I also planned nothing beforehand as everything went into the moment. Breathless excitement thrown towards pages.
I have never been able to replicate that feeling since. Whilst I enjoy writing and it’s an escape it can sometimes feel like something I have to make special time for. This is usually once the sun has gone down, once my Son is in bed, once the dishes are cleaned, once the energy is there. The process of writing does not entice me to it, I have to drag myself towards it instead usually.
Tonight I considered a short writing test. As I do with movie scripts I wondered if I could write the first few pages of a story off the bat with no notes. I shut down Twitter and Facebook before switching off the radio. Then something strange happened. The opening of the story just fell out and landed on the screen, my fingers flew over the keyboard. It’s a little shaky when read back but it’s nothing I can’t clean up later. For that short burst I had the same feeling I had when I was ten, the rush of just telling a story. Film scripts are great, I love them but because I want them filmed they have to be confined to certain perimeters. The second I start to mention star ships it goes way beyond the budget given to any first time screenwriter. A novel has no such concerns, I’m pretty much free to write whatever.
So the ability is still there, it just needs a few sparks. I could certainly do this for a few thousand words more.